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Playfied Storytelling


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We’ll review and apply videoludic techniques to non strictly ludic contexts, focusing on the many roles storytelling can play in games and outside games.

Published in: Design, Entertainment & Humor
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Playfied Storytelling

  1. 1. Playfied Storytelling Workshop Pietro Polsinelli @ppolsinelli VII Summit Italiano di Architettura dell’Informazione / Bologna 15 –16 novembre 2013 1
  2. 2. 2
  3. 3. A couple of notes 3
  4. 4. Passage: a full game. 4 4
  5. 5. Digital / Analogical 5
  6. 6. Examples 7
  7. 7. Game design as a UI tool This is the usage we are focusing. 8
  8. 8. Problem: RAI Cinema -> people love movies, people don’t go to movies. Make them play “movie writer”. Melt-a-Plot: UI design includes motivation. 9
  9. 9. 11
  10. 10. Problem: Integrating social tools in the enterprise (like anything else) is conceptually complex and practically hard. Social Business Toolkit 12
  11. 11. Meet this “thing”. Reactions? 13
  12. 12. We have a complex theme, a friendly approach. We basically have this problem: the cards are on the surface. And the alternative is not very friendly. It is a learning problem. 14
  13. 13. (See mockup.) 15
  14. 14. Turning into a strategy game activates a feedback loop – only the digital game can give this is a practical, feasible way. 16
  15. 15. Engine core is the action / task relationship. 17
  16. 16. One idea: progression vs. emergence 18
  17. 17. Emergence is the primordial game structure, where a game is specified as a small number of rules that combine and yield large numbers of game variations, which the players then design strategies for dealing with. This is found in card and board games and in most action and all strategy games. Emergence games tend to be replayable and tend to foster tournaments and strategy guides. Progression is the historically newer structure that entered the computer game through the adventure genre. In progression games, the player has to perform a predefined set of actions in order to complete the game. One feature of the progression game is that it yields strong control to the game designer: Since the designer controls the sequence of events, this is also where we find the games with cinematic or storytelling ambitions. This leads to the infamous experience of playing a game "on a rail", i.e. where the work of the player is simply to perform the correct pre-defined moves in order to advance the game. Progression games have walkthroughs, specifying all the actions needed to complete the game. 19
  18. 18. Emergence / Progression Sim City, Braid. 20
  19. 19. 21
  20. 20. Exercise 22
  21. 21. Progression game idea template - Idea Story Main character(s) Non-Player Characters (NPCs) Background What can the player(s) do? Stories First mission: Missions 2, 3 Losing / winning condition 23
  22. 22. Emergence game idea template - Idea Situation Units guided by player(s) Units guided by “artifical intelligence” (AI), combinatorics Background Loops Generated strategy What can the player do? What gets harder? Losing / winning condition 24
  23. 23. Find a theme that is taught in school and that you like. And that maybe you don’t like how it is being thought. Reach as far as you can in this scheme: Your turn. 25
  24. 24. - Platformer? - First person magician? - Strategy? - Ludo narrative dissonance? Suggestions 26
  25. 25. The games universe 27
  26. 26. Self referential / Referring games Both may be good or bad. 28
  27. 27. Non played games. Dear Esther, Proteus, Journey 29
  28. 28. Games for change
  29. 29. Games for change 31
  30. 30. Oh how nice it is to work as a slave for this multinational 32
  31. 31. Playfied solutions “Gamification”. Bottle bank arcade. Somemtimes, unhealthy psychological consequences. Techniology of “fitting better”: technology for control (Foucault). Game play is instrumental to an external goal. 33
  32. 32. 34
  33. 33. Learning & teaching with games from games 35
  34. 34. Cargo Bot Videogames are ideal for transmitting formal rules through concrete examples. This can cover a lot of ground. Also probe – test – rethink – probe cycle. 36
  35. 35. Search energy in a 3D environment. 37
  36. 36. The dark side 38
  37. 37. No narrative ideal, no purpose beyond monetization. Lenses in a skeleton: The Sims Social. 39
  38. 38. Measure, measure, measure. 40
  39. 39. Addiction by Design Natascha Schull 97% is given by the slot machine – study IT
  40. 40. Narrative for / in / from / out games 42
  41. 41. The Magic Circle: Huizinga, Johan. 1971. Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play Element in Culture. Boston: Beacon Press. 43
  42. 42. Which story? - user gameplay story - learning story - author scripted story - game generated story - describing the game (story as ux tool) Distinguish: emergent narrative vs. embedded narrative. 44
  43. 43. Classical media is not interactive: depends how you look at it. There is a branching reality, and videogames are rarely truly interactive. 45
  44. 44. “If one understands that storytelling for games has little or nothing to do with interactive storytelling one has already saved oneself a lot of trouble.” It goes in many directions. 46
  45. 45. 47
  46. 46. 48
  47. 47. Anti narrativism 49
  48. 48. There isn't one right way to include stories in games: Storyteller, Blackbar ... 50
  49. 49. Feedback time? 51
  50. 50. Short intro to Game Design 52
  51. 51. Example analysis: Pinball Which are the user inputs? Works in different media – nice on the iPad. 53
  52. 52. Progressive views: 1.Just keep the ball in play 2.Make point rich hits 3.Reach goals 4.Complete the story 5.Solo not fun any more. Can be fun just to show off (high scores, show to friends). Pinball game hermeneutics. 54
  53. 53. Games vocabulary: article “Formal Abstract Design Tools,” designer Doug Church 55
  54. 54. Game are made of loops To analyze the mechanics of a game, you got to find the loops. 56
  55. 55. And loops are interesting because of surprises 57
  56. 56. Stick to basics These are some of the mechanics – plus status competition … This is very important in order to establish deep contact with your users: find the deep motivation. 58
  57. 57. Is this simple mechanic union relevant only for classical games? Union of drawing – racing 59
  58. 58. Drawing with your finger on the iPad is nice. Racing with small cars is beautiful. 60
  59. 59. “This game is engaging, its fun” Engagement can be caused by disparate reasons: 1. Engagement because of s fun base mechanic 2. Engagement by using a virtual world projection mechanics Engaging design is ambiguous: can mean engaging by using a base mechanic (flipper, tower defence), or by using a virtual world projection mechanics 61
  60. 60. One way to see “make it a game”. 62
  61. 61. The flow The blurry edge between challenging and too difficoult. There is the flow. We are tackling the tip of something complex. When we are kept at the margin of our abilities – it’s the flow graph. So its complex, there are exceptions everywhere. 63
  62. 62. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Author) 64
  63. 63. Stress based classification. 65
  64. 64. Koster – Deterding definition of fun. 66
  65. 65. “Fun is about learning in a context where there is no pressure” But in school there is, and there has to be, pressure. There is here a dynamic.! 67
  66. 66. 68
  67. 67. Fun is learning - but learning is not always fun. “Fun is a feedback we get in the mind when absorbing patterns for learning purposes” Koster From “Theory of Fun” 69
  68. 68. Game Dev Story A small, simple game… 70
  69. 69. Game Dev Story reverse engineered Game genres, …
  70. 70. 72
  71. 71. Creating working prototypes: Machinations, HTML5, Unity 73
  72. 72. Show it online: 74
  73. 73. 75
  74. 74. Example of feedback loop analysis: Risk 76
  75. 75. Risk feedback loop 1: armies to territories to armies 77
  76. 76. Risk feedback loop 2: attacks to cards to armies 78
  77. 77. Risk feedback loop 3: attacks to continents to armies 79
  78. 78. Risk feedback loop 4: continents lead to being attacked 80
  79. 79. Other tools: HTML5, Unity. 81
  80. 80. A game idea is not a game prototype 82
  81. 81. GAMES ARE EXPENSIVE... Finding job for game creators is non trivial. And its also quite expensive. 83
  82. 82. From “a game on Da Vinci” : Summer 2011. A decent proto will be ready MAYBE end 2013. 84
  83. 83. Beyond 86
  84. 84. 87
  85. 85. 88
  86. 86. Persuasive UIs 89
  87. 87. Jesse Schell Sebastian Deterding Chris DeLeon “Hobby game Dev” 90
  88. 88. 91
  89. 89. My twitter stream is mostly dedicated to game design: A blog on game design 92